Watermelon is so sweet, juicy, and refreshing on hot summer days you almost forget how nutritious it is. But like other SmartCarbs, watermelon is packed with vitamins, fiber, and other key nutrients, yet it’s low in calories.
The sticky red flesh is 92 percent fluid, so eating watermelon helps you stay hydrated. The color comes from lycopene, a nutrient also found in tomatoes and pink grapefruit that may help prevent heart disease and certain cancers. A cup of watermelon also provides 15 percent of your RDA for vitamin A and 12 percent of vitamin C, and it’s a healthy source of potassium, a mineral essential for healthy metabolism. While a cup of watermelon has just 40 calories, its high sugar content means that if you’re on a Nutrisystem weight loss plan you should limit yourself to one cup per day. Eating slices of watermelon on the porch as the sun goes down is one of the most fun ways to savor summer, but here are seven other delicious ideas for enjoying watermelon this season.
Caprese salad is a summertime classic made with tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella. For a delicious variation, substitute watermelon, arugula and feta cheese, to make a sweet and spicy side dish. Here’s a recipe for a similar (and delicious!) salad! >
Thick slabs of watermelon can take the heat of the grill, which caramelizes the natural sugars and makes the fruit even tastier. Cut the pieces at least a half-inch thick, brush lightly with olive oil, and add a pinch of salt and pepper to each. Grill for a minute on each side, then serve warm with a dab of chevre (or other soft) cheese, a slice of prosciutto (if desired), and a sprig of basil.
Slice watermelon flesh into sticks about two inches long and wide. After stir-frying beef or shrimp, sugar snap peas, onions, and ginger turn off the heat and then mix in the watermelon to give the dish a sweet flavor.
Watermelon dried in strips—like jerky—is a tasty and convenient snack. To make your own, cut fruit into six- to eight-inch strips that are at least a half-inch thick. If you have a food dehydrator, dry the jerky for about eight hours. Or you can spread the strips out on a lightly oiled baking sheet and put it in your oven at about 200 degrees F for about 12 hours.
Make a delicious snack or dessert on a skewer with fresh watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew. Use a melon baller to scoop out each fruit, then slide six balls onto a wooden skewer, alternating types of fruit.
Watermelon becomes an even more refreshing treat on a sweltering day when you chill it in the freezer. Simply puree watermelon chunks (with the seeds removed, if there are any) in a blender or food processor. Pour the puree into popsicle containers or into small paper cups with a popsicle stick inserted. Freeze for about four hours. If you used paper cups, peel them away from the popsicle and enjoy.
Blend watermelon with a few simple ingredients for a lighter take on a summer spritzer you’ll love. Get the recipe right here! >